UCI’s Master of Data Science (MDS) professional graduate program launched one year ago, and it’s already considered to be one of the top master’s degree programs in data science in the nation. As the growing demand for data science exceeds the supply of practitioners, the Master of Data Science (MDS) will launch a part-time program in fall 2023 to grow its pool of candidates. The part-time program will be a great option for those who are transitioning in their careers or who are looking to level up their technical skills.
“The new MDS part-time program is just shy of two years. The biggest difference is the timeline and the amount of classes students take. It’s still fundamentally the same degree and it’s important for prospective candidates to know this. Students will take two classes per quarter for eight quarters instead of five,” says MDS Program Director Bryan Muñoz.
Muñoz adds that a second notable difference between the full-time and part-time MDS programs is that the part-time program is geared only toward domestic students. He encourages domestic students to apply if they’re interested in gaining more skills and knowledge of data science that can benefit them in their employment.
“I’d also recommend those working professionals who have a STEM background and want to transition into a more technical role,” he said. “This program is seeking working professionals who can enhance discussions about the industry.”
Fortune ranked UCI’s MDS program seventh out of 28 in-person master’s programs in data science this year. UCI is also the only UC school on Fortune’s list. Muñoz says this ranking was one of the motivators behind the decision to offer a part-time program: “We want to increase access. The ranking also helps validate what we are doing as a team, and it highlights that the program is resonating with the marketplace.”
Muñoz adds: “It was exciting to hear about the news. As a program, we are on an upward trajectory and receiving a ranking helps us on that journey. Our intention in launching a part-time option is because organizations want to develop their own talent pipelines, and working professionals want to enhance their skills. We are meeting a strong demand for organizations who want to build their data science initiatives in house, and by providing flexibility to the working professional.”
With the inaugural cohort of MDS students graduating this year and the 2022-2023 cohort having just begun their studies, Muñoz reflects on the impact of the MDS program and the program’s goal to “empower innovation” across all industries.
“The pandemic and post-pandemic world continue to demonstrate that the need for data is at the forefront of any decisions,” he says. “Organizations are trending toward artificial intelligence and deep learning, and our MDS students and really our School of ICS benefit from this because they are joining a robust ecosystem of support that will enhance their marketability post- graduation.”
— Karen Phan